Saturday, May 27, 2017

Blog Tour: Equality by Helena Stone #Review #Giveaway #Guest Post



When an issue brings out the best in a nation

It goes without saying that the result of the marriage equality referendum in Ireland was a cause for celebration for those who, like me, supported a Yes-vote. But, in retrospect, that wasn’t the only reason the days, weeks, and months leading up to that crucial day in May lifted my spirits.

The sheer number of, often high profile, people lending their voice and prestige to the campaign was as astounding as it was heart-warming. Actors, sport personalities, a former president, a well-known politician all stepped up, sometimes sacrificing privacy, either their own or that of a family member.

In fact, I am convinced that the only reason we heard so many ‘No’ voices during the campaign is the Irish rule regarding elections that says that both sides of an argument should always be represented in the media. And it was telling, even during the early days just after the referendum had been announced, that while those advocating for a Yes-vote always sounded conciliatory and forgiving, their opponents always made a desperate and somewhat aggressive impression while they used arguments without relevance and tried to pull unrelated issues into the discussion.

And that was only the beginning of the wonders. In the last few days leading up to the referendum it became very clear that the issue had managed to inspire people to go to previously unknown lengths when our (air)ports found themselves working double time just to accommodate those who returned home in order to add their support.

#HomeToVote was used 72.000 times on Twitter in the lead up to the May 22nd poling day. While I can’t claim that every tweet represented a person who made that journey, it is safe to say that the referendum led to something unique. Emigrants are not entitled to vote in Irish elections or referendums and up until May 2015 people had not been inclined to make a, sometimes very long, journey just to be able to cast a vote. I have to admit that I spent a lot of time staring at my computer screen through tear filled eyes over the 48 hours leading up to the referendum.

When, after a longer than comfortable wait, the numbers were at last announced, we learned that 60.5% of eligible people voted; the highest turn-out for a referendum since the start of the twenty-first century. 68% of those who voted gave a resounding Yes in answer to the question ‘Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex'. Translated into numbers this means that 1,201,607 people voted in favour while 734,300 voted against. And only one county out of forty rejected same-sex marriage.

In retrospect it is easy to say that the result was never really an issue. All the polls indicated a win for those in favour of equality. But then, we’d seen that before with other referendums only for the outcome to surprise all. While I was cautiously optimistic throughout the whole campaign, I couldn’t help feeling as Lorcan does in Equality when he says:

“I can’t help worrying that we will need to convince a truckload of straight people to vote Yes on a subject that won’t change their lives one way or another. I mean, even if they do believe we should have the right, will they come out to vote? What if it rains on the day?” (…) “We both know what the church is going to be saying about this subject. And there’s still a lot of people in this country who will follow their priest’s orders without a second’s hesitation, just because that’s what they’ve been doing their whole lives.”

Which made it all the more satisfying to wake up to headlines like this one the day after the result had been announced.




Buy Links: Pride | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Length: 58,300 words

Dublin Virtues Series

Patience (Book #1) Pride | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Renewal (Book #3) Pride | Amazon US | Amazon UK 

Blurb

Love is love. But what if the fight for equality gets in the way of building a relationship?

Lorcan Barratt has never considered himself relationship material. After his parents made it perfectly clear they’d never welcome a partner of his into their home, he learned to love his own company and can’t imagine sharing his life with another. After a single passionate kiss with Eric Kavanagh—the night before he travels to Canada for three months—Lorcan’s no longer sure he wants to be on his own. The problem is, he has no idea what sharing his life with someone else might entail.

Eric Kavanagh grew up in a loving and supportive family and always assumed he’d end up in a committed relationship. Sure that he’s found the one, Eric doesn’t worry about the fact that Lorcan has no experience when it comes to love and relationships. They are good together, so what could possibly go wrong?

When both men get involved in the marriage equality referendum in Ireland, it appears to bring them even closer together until Lorcan’s insecurities get the upper hand and he shuts Eric out. Will the fight for a yes-vote cost them their relationship or will they be able to find a balance between the love they share and the need for equality?



Review

Equality, the second book in the Dublin Virtue series, can be read as a standalone but we do get to see Eric and Lorcan’s first kiss which in my opinion gives a more complete idea of these two guys.

I loved the start of the story because going through the nervousness and worry that Lorcan is feeling waiting for Eric to return from Canada gave me, as a reader, an immediate connection to him. Lorcan and Eric are very different people. Lorcan is much more intense especially when it comes to the dynamic of his family and his being gay. He obsesses over things that are important to him but has that worrywart and guilt thing down pat. It also gave me a better understanding about him and made my heart hurt for him. Lorcan’s grandmother was freaking fantastic! She stood by his side and spoke out against his parent's beliefs which just further endeared her to me.

Eric is quiet and the type of person that thinks things through before reacting. Now he’s back home he decides traveling isn’t for him especially since he has Lorcan there. The author’s characterization of not just Eric and Lorcan but to each secondary character was wonderfully done. She weaves each personality trait so well with the story that you feel each character in every part.

Lorcan and his struggle were what initially hooked me to this story, and his struggle with not only his family but with this new relationship was what kept me going. This story of equality that the author wrote was beautiful and touching and I recommend you give it a read.
 




May 23 - The Novel Approach
May 25 - Urban Smoothie Read, BooksLaidBareBoys, Dreams and Screams Bookaholics, Book Lovers 4Ever, Booklove
May 27 - Diverse Reader
May 29 - Joyfully Jay, Sexy Erotic Xciting, M/M Book Addicts, Keysmash, Making It Happen, MM Good Book Reviews
May 31 - The Geekery Book Review, Padme's Library, Sarandipity Book Reviews, Bonkers About Books, Bayou Book Junkie, Reading Is Our Satisfaction, Dog-Eared Daydreams, Foxylutely Books, Jim's Reading Room

Author Bio

Helena Stone can’t remember a life before words and reading. After growing up in a household where no holiday or festivity was complete without at least one new book, it’s hardly surprising she now owns more books than shelf space while her Kindle is about to explode.

The urge to write came as a surprise. The realisation that people might enjoy her words was a shock to say the least. Now that the writing bug has well and truly taken hold, Helena can no longer imagine not sharing the characters in her head and heart with the rest of the world.

Having left the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam for the peace and quiet of the Irish Country side she divides her time between reading, writing, long and often wet walks with the dog, her part-time job in a library, a grown-up daughter and her ever loving and patient husband.

Helena can be found in the following places:

Website
Blog
Facebook
Facebook Author Page
Twitter
Goodreads
Amazon Author Page
Pinterest
Email: helenastoneauthor@gmail.com


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Promotional Post: Winter Burning by Rain Carrington #Review #Giveaway




Author: Rain Carrington
Book: Winter Burning
Publisher: AAS Publishing
Cover Artist: AJ Corza
Publication date: May 18, 2017
Length: 583 pages


Reviewed by Meredith


Synopsis

James Snow Bringer is an impressionable young Native American man living on the Montana sheep farm his family has owned for decades. His life on the reservation bores him to death and James yearns to see more of the world. During a trip into town, he meets a bus load of hippies, headed to a commune. When he goes to stay with them, he gets a taste of a different world which only wets his appetite to learn more.

Wyman Crow has faced hate many times and serving his country in Vietnam, and losing his lover there, only makes things worse. He returns home with the deep-seated knowledge that he will always be hated for his skin color wherever he is. It takes some time, but Wyman learns to accept himself and vows to become the warrior his ancestors were, the only way he can. He tells their stories. Wyman will not lie down and let bigots win, determined to fight for equality in a world that doesn’t want him.

A chance meeting at a pow-wow brings James and Wyman together where they quickly succumb to mutual attraction. Wyman falls in love with the innocent young man but when James persists in asking questions about who their people are, Wyman decides to do more than tell him. He shows him. When they embark on a journey of discovery together, James is eager to learn. He’s not prepared for what he finds.

Winter Burning – An epic tale of painful truth, hatred, and most important of all, deep and abiding love.







 Review

Winter Burning is very different from any other book this author has produced. That said, it's also amazing and truly shows the versatility of this author.

This is a journey that you, the reader, take with James. His journey is so meaningful and important because of his background. A child who lived a sheltered life because his parents were terrified of the prejudices of the white race.

James' journey opens his eyes to so much. He's such a wonderful character. You connect with him and the compassion he encompasses in everything he does. In his adventures of discovery, he finds love. he also finds the hatred his parents spoke of and sees the suffering of Native Americans.

This story is very emotional. Each moment is felt deeply. Whether it be love, loss, fear or reality.

Wyman and James take a lot of this on together. Wyman, a man who's seen it all from Vietnam to back home. He takes James to the answers he seeks. Though they are opposites in the lives they've lived up to, their start point, by the end they seemed to be right where they should.

There's so much amazement in this book. Yes it's long but it's epic and the situations, discoveries, and personal revelations are truly outstanding. I very much recommend this book.





 Giveaway

Enter the giveaway to win a copy of Winter Burning
This will be gifted directly to your Kindle.

Giveaway ends June 3rd.
Thanks

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Saturday Author Spotlight: Parker Williams & K.C. Wells #Interview #Giveaway



Happy Saturday, everyone! The greatest day of the week is here: Saturday Author Spotlight! This week I'm shining two spotlights. I have the amazing writing duo Parker Williams and K.C. Wells here with us. They have a new book out, Before You Break, and we have a review for that today. There's an interview, and then there's a giveaway for a signed paperback copy of this book! So, let us get started.



Before You Break

Title: Before You Break
Series: Secrets #1
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Publication Date: May 26, 2017
Length: 340 pages

Reviewed by Morningstar

Synopsis

Six years ago Ellis walked into his first briefing as the newest member of London’s Specialist Firearms unit. He was partnered with Wayne and they became fast friends. When Wayne begins to notice changes—Ellis’s erratic temper, the effects of sleep deprivation—he knows he has to act before Ellis reaches his breaking point. He invites Ellis to the opening of the new BDSM club, Secrets, where Wayne has a membership. His purpose? He wants Ellis to glimpse the lifestyle before Wayne approaches him with a proposition. He wants to take Ellis in hand, to control his life because he wants his friend back, and he figures this is the only way to do it.

There are a few issues, however. Ellis is straight. Stubborn. And sexy. Wayne knows he has to put his own feelings aside to be what Ellis needs. What surprises the hell out of him is finding out what Ellis actually requires.


Buy Links




Review

This book is a spin-off from the Collars & Cuffs series that has Jarod and Eli making a move to London and opening up their own BDSM called Secrets. We get a small glimpse at some familiar faces from that series, but this book does not require reading that series.

I struggled to contact with Wayne and Ellis the first portion of this book. I can’t even tell you what it was that was making me feel that way. It could’ve been the chemistry between the two guys or the uncertainty of how these authors were going to bring them together, but whatever it was it was throwing me off.

I loved Wayne with his sense of humor and how he was a leader in all ways that his team needed him. The dynamic that the team had especially in the police force and having an out and proud
gay man leading the team was incredible. Wayne wanted to use the guiding hand that he’d always used with Ellis on the job, in private but Ellis struggles with it. And man, does he have the patience of a saint when it comes to Ellis and the phone calls and the leaving. But you can tell he really wants to take care of Ellis and loves him.

A lot of his struggles come from his family situation, a situation that I truly understand and on some level can easily see parents brainwashing their child into believing in what they taught him, which they did from a very young age. Ellis is in a tight spot when it comes to his job, and his family adds on top of it the BDSM Wayne is throwing at him I was glad he didn’t come around quickly. But it makes complete sense that submitting to another man in his situation would been even harder to fall into.

The banter between the two men later on in the book when things are going well between them is fun and made me smile. The development with Ellis’s sister was sad but uplifting all the same.
Although it is long, it’s well paced and flows. There's alternating POV even within a chapter, but it is clearly marked and easy to get used to the change, so no head hopping, not that surprises me with these two authors. Great story that’s light on the BDSM, heavy on the sexy, and light on the angst.

Other collaborations with Parker Williams and KC Wells




Interview

Well, it’s very exciting to have a dynamic duo like the two of you as our Author(s) Saturday Spotlight. We’ve never had a double up so this is exciting. You have a new release Before You Break. Our lovely Morningstar reviewed it below and for a while now it seems to be one of those books people have been so excited about. Congrats on the new book. Today I’m going to ask you both some questions. Some together some separate. Hopefully painless.





For both of you: How did you meet?

Parker: I met her at the candy store, she turned around and smiled at me, you get the picture?

K.C.: He was reading ‘An Unlocked Heart’ and messaged me to tell me how much he enjoyed it. I asked him if he was interested in hearing about the second book, ‘Trusting Thomas’. His answer hasn’t changed much since I’ve known him: “Duh.”


For you both: When did you both decide you wanted to write books together?

K.C.: I asked him if he’d consider writing a book with me. He said no.

Parker: In my defense, she’s freaking K.C. Wells! I was a nobody. Then one night at work, I had an idea for a story about a boy from the US who went to the UK because someone he’d never met sent him a ticket. I talked to her about it and from that came ‘Someone to Keep Me’.


K.C.: Er, excuse me? When I asked you, I had ONE book published. Okay, so I’d written four, but still… (It’s a good thing I love him, right? ;-) )


Parker: What was your first impression of KC?

She was funny, smart, sweet, cute, cuddly, and adorable.
Hey, wait a minute… K.C. why are YOU answering for me? (Just kidding. She is all those things and more.)


KC: How did you know that you were going to be able to collaborate with Parker so well?

By the time we started writing, we were already having these verbal sparring bouts on Facebook. People came by to watch with popcorn. I’d read his first book, Pitch, and I loved his style. But when the moment arrived to start, we were already friends who talked every day on Skype. I just… knew.



Parker: What is the hardest part about collaborating?

Waking up at 2 in the morning to talk with her while she sips coffee. Beyond that, working with KC is great. I’ve learned a lot from her. Including to look for SQUIRRELS! (Which is my way of saying both of us can be pretty easily distracted.)

K.C. : snort    Ya think?


KC: What’s your favorite thing about writing with someone else?

Bouncing ideas off one another. I love it when I get a message when we’re in the middle of writing, that begins with OOH. It usually means he’s had another great idea.


For you both: How did you form the idea for Before You Break?


Parker: When we were writing the last two books of Collars & Cuffs, I suggested that if we did a new series, Eli & Jarod should move to London to open a BDSM club. KC liked the idea, so we began to discuss possible storylines. One of them was Wayne and Ellis, two police officers. We ran several potential plots through the betas and asked them for their opinion.


For You Both: Can you tell us what you’re currently working on together or separate?

Parker: We’re on the last two chapters of ‘An Unlocked Mind’. If the title sounds similar to K.C.’s first book in the Collars & Cuffs series, ‘An Unlocked Heart’, it’s because it features Alex’s brother, the selfish prick known as Rob. I’ve also got ‘Haven’s War’ coming in June (it’s the sequel to Haven’s Creed and deals with Haven coming up against an enemy that has killed other agents and seems to be looking for him.) And in July I have Runner coming out from Dreamspinner (my first solo book with them as Parker).

K.C.: I’ve just finished writing Lace, a standalone short story. Next it’s BFF, my last Dreamspun Desires title. And after that? Well, let’s just say it will be a departure from my usual writing style ;-)



Could either of you ever collaborate with anyone else or is this unique?

Parker: I’m not sure. To be honest, I’m not super-confident in my writing. I’m getting better, but not sure how well I could work with someone else. K.C. is patient with me, which I totally appreciate. Plus she’s easily distracted by SQUIRRELS!

K.C.: I’ve been asked by a couple of authors, both of whom have writing styles that would gel well with mine. The only thing would be finding the time, because there seriously aren’t enough hours in the day!


How can each of your readers follow your work: Websites, Twitter, Facebook etc…

K.C.: Twitter, Website, Facebook, 



FAST FIRE QUESTIONS:

For Parker

Day or night? Probably very late night/very early morning.
Beer or wine? Neither. I’m not a drinker.
Favorite holiday? Halloween because our local food store carries vegan pumpkin bars!
Best song ever? Right now it’s The Warrior Song: Hard Corps by Sean Householder
Favorite comfort food? Paul makes an awesome pot pie that I need on bad days.
Favorite KC book she wrote without you? An Unlocked Heart or, because I’m a goof, the Personal Series which features a character named Will Parkinson (my alter-ego)
Favorite destination? Bed!
Favorite color? Yellow or red, depending on my mood


For KC:

Chocolate or vanilla? *eye roll* Really? (chocolate)
Dogs or cats? Kitties.
Favorite movie? Sorry. WAYYYY too many to answer that one
Favorite Parker Williams book he wrote without you? 500 Miles
Favorite flower? freesia
Favorite alcoholic beverage? Wine, Long Islands and Mai Tais all tie *grins*
Cake or ice cream? Ice cream!
Favorite place to write? A café here on the island, by the sea


Okay, thank you both so very much for being here! I’m so thrilled for your new release and for all the books to come.




Giveaway

Parker Williams and KC Wells will gift one person a signed copy of 
Before You Break.

Since they live in separate parts of the world here's how it will work.
If the Random winner is in the US it will be signed by Parker.
If it's international it will be signed by KC Wells.

I want to thank both of them for being here today!
Contest will end on June 2nd!
Thanks!



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